Summit of the Non-Aligned / 5W's!

Skateboarding has definitely been seeing the flourishing of independent happenings, as though a form of natural resistance to mass culture by its most sincerely devoted enthusiasts. As the official 2019 program for the ninth (!) edition of the Croatian Vladimir Film Festival just dropped, in Belgrade, the Summit of the Non-Aligned is just about to start (from today on, till September 15th), and as expected from passionate people whose communication is more akin to sponataneous expression than malign marketing, it probably wouldn't have caught the attention of a wider scale audience if it hadn't been for word of mouth from acquainted artists who linked us up (i.e. Glen Fox and Nez Pez). Five minutes later and a phone call was in order...
 
Check out the Summit's website and Instagram feed, and enjoy the interview below, with BG activist David Soda.
 

LIVE Skateboard Media: May you introduce us to the concept of the Summit of the Non-Aligned? What exactly is it and how long have you been working on it? You mentioned to me that the yearly Vladimir Film Festival in Pula was an inspiration, can you recount in general how it all came about for your event and who exactly is working on what?

David Soda: The first idea to do something like this was raised back in 2017. We were inspired by the Macedonian skate scene; they organized a true street contest (more like a session, going from one spot to another), and the most important thing is that all the skate shops and brands were united together on the event, which was never the case in Serbia. So in October that year, we made the first Summit, with the idea to bring all the skaters on the streets and to provide good energy whilst shredding spots around Belgrade. Besides the contest, we did a premiere of Rios x Belgrade Zoo "Dunja" video and a [0.10] Error of Harmony pop-up gallery show.

As the years passed, our focus shifted towards such events, traveling around, capturing what is going on in other skate scenes. Eventually, this year, we felt like it was time to combine all those connections and experiences together and organize a four-day festival of skate culture, as nothing of the sort was happening in Serbia.

Yes, Vladimir was a big inspiration, of course the Boldrider crew from Postojna too and many more individuals that we met while we were hitchhiking to all kind of skate events through the Balkans. Inspired by all the content on those events, we eventually decided we would spice it up with two workshops; D.I.Y. workshops, Since we don’t have D.I.Y. spots, neither do we have much experience and as we got inspired by Boldrider crew, this year we're putting them in charge of generously passing on the knowledge about the tools and techniques needed to sculpt quarterpipes.

On the first two Summits, it was only two or three of us putting it all together. But now it's getting bigger - and the crew is growing too. To put it in numbers, there are eleven of us, including our close friends who are involved in different spheres of Belgrade’s alternative scene.

LSM: How did you decide on the line-up and program for this first solid edition? Who were of the first people you got in touch with, and what were their reactions like? You told me Glen Fox and Soy Panday were coming in person to the event, right? Do you already know what the basic schedule of this edition will be like?

DS: We started with certain ideas on our minds but, as you contact people and artists, things starts to change up a bit. We had our share of "unseen" messages, negative replies and situations where our hands were tied and we couldn’t bring the artist to Belgrade because of our small budget. But eventually, we got to the right people and with them on our side, it easily started to settle down.

"We’re Provins crew, we’re not locals so we are condemned not to have a "locals only" attitude."

One of the first persons we invited to get involved in the festival is Sergej Vutuc. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to come, but he hooked us up with Thomas Campbell and gave us the chance to organize one of the last premieres of "Ye Olde Destruction"; Sergej also linked us up with other people and crews around the world.

In the meantime, we hooked up with Soy Panday, firstly with idea to exhibit his illustrations but then, as Soy is an amazing guy, it all went down super easily to organise the world premiere of "L’Indian Express" - a Magenta edit filmed and edited by visualtraveller Patrick Wallner, in India.

The schedule slowly but surely came together and in the end, we are very satisfied with how it all got settled down.

LSM: We’ve covered a shy bit of Belgrade before notably via the Rios crew’s collab videos with the Belgrade Zoo; can you describe us what being a local there feels like, and how active the scene is? Any photographers, filmers or publications documenting the skaters’ whereabouts that we should be aware of?

DS: We’re Provins crew (from the province of Serbia), we’re not locals so we are condemned not to have a "locals only" attitude. Scene is doing good. There are not too many skaters, but there are a lot of killers, older ones and new blood, too. There are few crews involved in scene: Funkys, Belgrade Zoo, Šakali and us.

Also, there are plenty of individuals working on the scene like Paja Kobazz, Rajko Radosavljević, Damjan Dobrila, Aleksa Vitorović and Miloš Ačanski. Paja was on the scene before we were even aware of ourselves, and Rajko too - Rajko stands behind the first Belgrade Zoo full-length video "BG streets" and also behind a YouTube channel that has street and park footage from our scene.

We are releasing a new video at this festival: it's called "Calentar" (which means "warming up" in Spanish). Last winter, we moved our asses and hitchhiked from Barcelona along the Southern coastline of Spain to Lisbon; sleeping in the bushes, behind gas stations, in parks and skate pools. Camera duty was on Reska and David, and also present were Radovan and Danilo, craving for the sick spots of Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Huelva and Lisbon. David covered this crazy road trip via great analogue photos shot with his Minolta, which he will be exhibiting at the Summit.

LSM: So after this Summit, I heard y’all guys were heading out to Vladimir, barely ten days later? Talk about an intense skate month…

DS: Of course; just a few days after we're done with all the duties regarding the Summit, we will be hitting the road again! As Glen is coming to the festival to exhibit his work, he will stick around with us till Vladimir. So we will do a road trip through Croatia, Bosnia, and get to Fažana a bit early so we can have some time to shred the streets before Vladimir starts. After which, we'll be freewheeling; hopefully stick to the road and start filming for a new project.

LSM: Any message you would like to convey? Any shout-outs you would like to give?

DS: Oh man, it’s easier to convey a message with the action and not words, but let’s try it out. Our action is called Summit of the Non-Aligned. Shout out to the Speed Roller federation.

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